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Transforming the Food Sector for Inclusive Green Growth

Monday 20 October 17.15-18.30, the Eigtveds Pakhus, Copenhagen

Background

Food consumption and production patterns are among the main pressures on the environment and the natural resource base, to the point of diminishing its productive capabilities. Today, nearly one quarter of the world´s land is used for food production - almost the entire quarter that is suitable for cultivation. Due to intensive or unsustainable agricultural production methods, this land is increasingly degraded and its soils depleted. And it is expected that the effects of climate change will diminish productivity further - reducing yields by as much as one third in some areas. From this severely depleted natural resource base 70% more food must be available by 2050, to ensure food security for a growing population and fastly changing diets in emerging countries. At the same time, depletion of fossil hydrocarbons will increase the demand for biomass for bio-fuels and industrial materials, and will require a more coordinated approach to land use planning.

Fundamental changes in the ways food is produced, processed, transported and consumed are critical for achieving sustainable development. This immense challenge calls for a collaboration between a group of stakeholders including public and private actors: consumers, producers and retailers locally, regionally and globally. The challenges vary according to stakeholder needs:

  • For consumers access to sufficient, safe and nutritions food at afordable and stable prices are important priorities as are the options for satisfying the demand for changing diets
  • For producers and retailers priorities focus on sustainable and efficient production methods to ensure both sufficeint and long-term production
  • For many governments it is a priority to have more inclusivity, ensuring higher production by smallholder commercialization and integration in markets and value-chains

Session description

The overarching theme of the debate was innovation and transformation. Focus was on defining transition pathways in order to address the needs of the various stakeholders and achieving inclusive sustainable food production and consumption. The session examined the changing roles for actors in the area, including governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations. It also looked at how changing roles for the actors may reinforce initiatives and open for synergies and collaboration.

Production perspective:
The session explored the need for structural changes in food systems and supply chains. It looked at ways to increase output without increasing the pressure on natural resources and simultaneously integrate smallholder farmers in the value chains to obtain higher production. It looked at how consumer behavior change is generating significant change in production volume, content and production methods.

Consumer perspective:
The session looked into changing demands through behavioral changes at the consumer end. It looked at ways and means to work with the consumer to increase demand for sustainable and socially responsibly produced and processed food products.

Session goals

At the end of the session, the plenary:

  • Enriched the current debate among key stakeholders and opinion formers on promoting and supporting green inclusive growth with effective production and delivery systems addressing consumers’ needs for sufficient and sustainably produced food products
  • Inspire action through concrete examples and well described initiatives illustrating ways to promote inclusive production, delivery systems and behavioral changes on the demand-side
  • Explore the roles and responsibilities of key players
  • Identify potential opportunities for collaboration and prospects for synergies to move the debate into concrete collaborations and actions among interested partners

Proposed discussion questions

  • Major bottlenecks to inclusive green growth and to activate small holder farmers in the value chain when sourcing/producing for the markets and how best to ensure access to markets while working on sustainability in production: certification vs. traceability and the consequences for consumers and producers
  • How to develop and define the roles of the individual private and public players in combining and promoting consumers´ demand for sufficient food adapted to the changing diet that is sustainably produced with the need for green inclusive growth and effective production/delivery systems
  • Best practices/concrete examples: concrete examples of collaborative cooperation among public and private players promoting and supporting green inclusive growth with effective production/delivery systems addressing consumers’ needs for sufficient and sustainably produced food products: What are the major learnings for scaling/replicating?